Unicoi Outfitters is north Georgia's premier guide service and fly fishing outfitter, located on the Chattahoochee River near alpine Helen. Look for fishing reports, gear and book reviews, and general musings here from our staff and guides.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Your Favorite Flyfishing Trinket? (And the cure for SSA!)

What’s your most  favorite flyfishing trinket?  Why? 

Reply here and help out all the new flyfishers tuned into our UO channel.   

I’ll help y’all get this conversation started. My fav might just be that Orvis scissor/forceps, tethered by a zinger so it’s not errantly gifted to the river fish gods. 

Some accessories have occasional uses, while others are real workhorses throughout our entire time astream. My scissor/forceps tool works almost as hard as my Clearwater rod!


Of course, most anglers enjoy its traditional uses such as unhooking fish and crimping  split shot onto their tippet. 

But are you aware of the multi-tool’s extra utility and exceptional healing powers?  First, check out the scissors. When my fluffy dry is riding too high to match the drifting naturals (emergers and spinners), I give that dry a haircut or a shave. I can cut the mayfly’s thorax hackles shorter to lower the fly profile. I can also  “shave” the abdomen hackles on an elk hair caddis to ride it IN the film, like a spent caddis, or just under the surface, like an emerging pupa. If stoneflies are sailboating and I’m short on those patterns, I’ll craft one from a caddis. By pushing down the elk hair to splay it and then trimming each side, I’ll create a long, narrow stonefly wing. I can also cut my tippet when I can’t find my nippers or it’s too dark for my aging eyes to find their narrow bite.

Second is the hook-eye cleaner, that small needle in the handle. Indeed, it punches through head lacquer well so you can thread your tippet through the tiny hook eye.  But it also has medicinal value, as it cures a common ill among the majority of fly anglers: SSA.  You know, Split Shot Aversion!  SSA affects an abundance of fly flingers, forcing them up and into shallow, fishless drifts and eventual long faces. Do not fear, the cure is here.

This tool is a great split shot REMOVER and keeps me fishing longer and better each trip!  I can easily add and subtract shot to work each riffle  and pool more effectively.  I just turn the shot over so its slit is facing up, then insert the needle point carefully into the slit. Once the slit opens slightly, the forceps or my fingernails can finish the pry job. I feel the tippet for nicks and, if none, I’m ready to fish the slower or shallow water. In the winter, I may be changing from 2 to 5 size BB shot while Indi-drifting the Chattooga depths.  In the spring, I may change among tiny size 6 and 8 tin shot, or remove them, so the nymph dropper below my Stimulator drifts at fish-eye level, whether that’s at the surface or a foot or three below.

Take a look at your own  trinkets. What’s your favorite?  You might wish to drape a new one on your vest, chest-, or slingpack.  And stay in the water and into more fish this season. Good luck. Stop in or call either of our UO stores if we can help your own “accessory adventure” and guide you toward more fish tails and tales.

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